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Novel Unit - Holes

Compiled By: Mrs. G

This is a collection of idea that you can use when teaching the novel Holes.

Posted by: Linda

I'm not sure this will be helpful to you but the fourth grade teachers in my school read this book and as a cumulating activity, they spend a day outside digging holes with the students. They arrange for enough shovels, water to be delivered by the principal, etc. It is usually a 3 to 4 hour time period. It helps too that our school is on top of a hill with lots of empty land around it. The kids love it and when I get them in 5th grade the next year, that is the only book they remember and talk about! Hope this may be of help to you.

Posted by: Mrs. G

When you get to the chapter that describes the lizards, you can have them draw and color what they think the lizards look like. They must use the information and details presented in the chapter. You are checking how well they recall details and they won't even know it! I grade these pictures for accuracy ( I even count all the spots).:p

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Posted by: Gen

I created one bulletin board with a map of Camp Green Lake on that brown butcher paper that I crumpled and burned the edges of. Title: "Welcome to Camp Green Lake. This isn't Girl Scouts!" I'm making a character b.b with a few black silhouettes with question marks. All the primary and secondary character's names are around it, and we'll fill in characteristics as we read the book. I don't have a title for that one yet. Also making one with a bunch of "found items" from the book-peaches label, picture of onion, shovel leaning against it, etc. I think that one will be called something about filling in the holes. That's all I've come up with. Good luck!

Posted by: Susan

This is my favorite book to read with my 5th graders. Now that the movie is out, it's not as surprising to them, but still a great novel! I use the Teacher Created Materials Literature Guide (I know I've mentioned these before, but I love them!), to help me with activities as we go. Some of the little things were:
1. Bring in peach preserves for them to try (you'd be surprised how many have never had them!)
2. Make a fossil (when he finds a fossil in a hole)
3. Draw out each character with their real name and nickname.
4. Make a model of Camp Green Lake (using a drink "flat" - they bring in the other materials. That took about 3 days! We did that at the end).
5. Let the class give each other nicknames (they write them down and give them to you - so you can censor them for only encouraging ones).
6. Role play how they would act in certain situations that Stanley found himself in.
7. Make a dictionary for the vocabulary words - we played lots of games with them - Password, Pictionary, etc...).
8. Comprehension questions - from the literature guide.

I don't remember what else we did - but that might give you some thoughts. I'm not sure how quickly we went through the book, but we'd start off letting them write a summary of what we'd read the day before (a paragraph), then write a prediction of what they think will happen (a few sentences). Then we'd read for about 30 minutes, then do an activity. The total time for reading novels was an hour.

Posted by: Susan S.

Oh boy, do I love this book!!! I got the Teacher Created Materials novel aide, and it was a huge help. I started the lesson by showing items from the book (peach preserves, sunflower seeds, sneakers, etc...) and they predicted (wrote in notebooks) how those would be used in the book. I gave them vocabulary words from it and they looked them up, then we played a version of Password to see who was learning them (and it reinforced them). I gave questions throughout the book to check for comprehension. At the end, each group (4-5 students) were given a cardboard box (from cases of drinks) and they made "Camp Greenlake". They brought their own materials from home if they needed more than what I had (construction paper, markers, etc...). They did a great job! We displayed them in our school library. Also, while we were reading it, each day they would write in their notebooks, as soon as they got to class, about a summary of what happened the day before. Then they wrote a prediction of what they thought would happen next. These seemed to help with their comprehension. They really loved the book.

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Posted by: Kermit

We reenacted the trial of Stanley Yelnats in my class. That was fun, and we performed a readers theatre (I made it) of the scene where Stanley ends up at the "lake" digging holes for the first time.

The kids also all picked out their own nicknames (or gave them to one another) and created acrostic poems with them.

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I haven't tried it but...
Posted by: Barclay

I wanted to read Holes with my 7th grade LA, only 1/2 had studied it the year before...Anyway, in my prep for it, I went to a local craft store, and picked up a treasure chest, I planned to make it look old, with Yelnats on it. and popcorn, treats and the movie inside for an end of project wrap up. I was really excited. Ah well, maybe next year..I had also planned to have the students write a diary from the point of view of on of the characters. Good luck.

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Posted by: Shelly

I love this book too! I use it as my first read aloud and then we watch the movie too. I have my students do a huge venn diagram comparing the novel and the movie - they love this. It is also a great way to start the year with an appealing book and a movie treat so early in the year. We have popcorn and juice while watching it - the students and I just love this time, plus I too find some of them re-reading it throughout the year.

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Posted by: lexteacher

I am using this as my first novel study this year. I do several things that help to keep characters straight -
I make large orange stick-like men (like 2 feet X 4 feet) for each of the seven guys in tent D to put on my wall, as we learn information about each one we fill in the information on each stick man (name and nickname on the head). it really helps the lower readers to keep them straight and can spawn good discussion.
Secondly, I make a story line plot for each time period. I mark Stanley's story at Greenlake with a brown shovel, Kissin Kate's story with a peach, and Elya Yelnat's story with a pig. I have the kids plot out each story as they develop and we keep track in written form of the main events of each story line. Again, it really helps the lower readers follow the story.
I love this book and think it is really great for discussion about a lot of issues.

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Re: Holes
Posted by: lexteacher

The story lines are basically a bulletin board. I talk about each of the three story lines and how they are from different time periods. We talk about the characters in the book that pertain to each story line. There is also a lot of discussion about how even though they are from different times, they are still very much connected.
Then, I assign student groups of students to plot out the main events in each story line as we read. They write them out, edit for clarity and then we create a sort of timeline for the characters in each time period. This is an ongoing project as we read the book.
I hope this clarifies. Please let me know if not.

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Character Poem
Posted by: Mrs. G

Have the students choose their favorite character from the book Holes. Have them write a character poem using the Cinquain poem format. When the students finish with the poem have them add illustrations to it. These are great to display on a bulletin board.